Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 1964, 30 July
Document title: Psychosomatic: Its Meaning In Society
Document type: lecture transcript
Event: Saint Hill Special Briefing Course
Location: East Grinstead, Sussex
Document ID: SHSBC-395
Description: Hubbard contrasts the state of mental therapy in 1964 with his training from Commander Joseph Cheesman Thompson, supposedly a personal student of Freud. Discusses how Thompson trained his cat Psycho with Pavlovian methods. Says Thompson taught him word association.
There practically is no practice of Freudian analysis. They practice things like Horney and other squirrel offbeat things and so forth. And perhaps Freud could produce a finite result in the field of the mind. And I know, having been trained to some degree by Commander Thompson, who was trained by Freud, I know very well that Commander Thompson could do some very wild things. He’d do such things as train cats and things like this. It was pretty wild.
I know that doesn’t sound like much, but you really have to have a command of the mind to train a cat. He had a cat he called Psycho. And this cat would do most anything, on command. And it was quite wild, quite fantastic. And the way he trained the cat was directly from knowledge of the mind. He’d wait until the cat did something and then reward it. Now, of course here was a basic student also of Pavlov at work, you see. They’d forgotten the other half of Pavlov’s work: What you must do is punish only, they think.
But he would – he’d just use straight reward. He’d wait for the cat to do something, like jump up on a chair. And then he would say the command word and reward the cat. And he eventually had the cat so the cat would – you – he’d say, “Jump up on the chair,” and the cat would jump up on a chair. And this really made everybody blink. And the cat could do a lot of these silly little tricks.
But there was just an applied piece of the field of the mind, do you see? Directly. He for instance told me things which I have never since found in any of the written works. It’s quite interesting, these little bits of missing information which go to make up the body of data which becomes a practice are mostly, I think to a large extent, missing. Because they’re the word – of – mouth things you pick up around the joint, you know?
He taught me things about association that I don’t find – I find association is something else in the Freudian texts. But association, the concatenation of association whereby a person is actually able to arrive at some conclusion. I say concatenation, I really mean a string of things. And the association by libido theory of course is short – circuited onto the second dynamic, so that the person has certain things he associates with certain things which then these certain things being the woof and warp of his neurosis and psychosis – then his neurosis or psychosis is recognizable by what he has associated with what, you understand? Word association tests, in other words, and so forth.
Now, some of this has survived through Freudian lines and they do talk about it, but not to the extent that Thompson talked about it. He talked about other things. He talked about a diagnosis of the actual incident through not just listening for five hundred hours to the patient, you see, but actually finding out what he associated with what. And this required a very active and imaginative practitioner. But you could see that a practice of this character whereby you sort of have to get an idea of what’s wrong with the bloke, and then you have to look around and find things for him to pick up and ask him what comes to his mind instantly, you see, and you would arrive with this trauma.
Now, Freud didn’t have in mind four or five years of an hour per week, you see, he didn’t have this in mind, this wasn’t his idea of a treatment. But this other is so imaginative, you see.